Statement by Israel


Date:   7 October 1999

Delivered by: Gideon Frank, Director General, Israel Atomic Energy Commission

Mr. President,

Let me congratulate you, on behalf of the delegation of Israel, on your election as President of the Conference on facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. I am confident that under your leadership, wisdom and moderation, this conference will be brought to a successful conclusion. I can assure you of our full support and cooperation in fulfilling your important duties. I wish you great success in your task.

On behalf of my Government I would also like to commend the Provisional Technical Secretariat and Dr. Wolfgang Hoffman, the Executive Secretary, for their excellent and efficient preparatory work.

Mr. President,

At the outset let me express my Governmentís firm support for the CTBT and our hope that the conditions necessary for entry into force will soon be attained. Our expectations are that this Conference will succeed in advancing this objective according to Article XIV of the Treaty. With this regard, Mr. President, I wish to commend the efforts and dedication of Ambassador Freeman of the UK and Ambassador Ikeda of Japan in the preparations for this Conference. We fully support the chairmanís text of the draft Final Declaration referenced as CTBT-Art.XIV/CRP.1/Rev.1 of 6 October 1999.

Israelís decision to sign the CTBT reflects my Governmentís long standing policy of supporting international non-proliferation efforts with due consideration to the specific characteristics of the Middle East and our national security needs.

Thus, Israel has been party to the Partial Test Ban Treaty since 1964, and has made clear its commitment to the CTBT objectives since the beginning of effective negotiations on the Treaty. Israel played an active role throughout the CTBT negotiations in Geneva and contributed to the Treaty on both conceptual and technical levels. Israel was among the cosponsors of the resolution taken by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 September 1996 to adopt the CTBT and attached its signature to the Treaty on 25 September 1996.

Since the establishment of the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization in November 1996, my country has invested great effort participating in the development of the elements of the CTBT verification regime. Site surveys for IMS facilities in Israel has already been completed and letters were exchanged with the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the CTBTO to enable the initiation of work at these sites. Furthermore, we support efforts aimed at advancing regional seismological cooperation to further facilitate the CTBT verification regime.

Mr. President,

It is our expectation that the essential elements of the CTBT verification regime, namely the International Monitoring System (IMS), the International Data Center (IDC) and the full capability to carry out On-Site Inspections (OSI), shall be completed and ready as soon as possible. It is our view, that this is a prerequisite for entry into force, as required by the first paragraph of Article IV of the Treaty.

Together with other delegations we are actively engaged in accelerating the development of the OSI Operational Manual, in order to complete this crucial and most sensitive element of the verification regime as early as possible. I would like to express our hopes that all States Signatories will take the necessary steps to complete the development of the verification regime at the earliest time possible and provide the required resources.

Mr. President,

Recognizing the significant achievements made so far by the Preparatory Commission and the PTS in building the verification regime, and appreciating the serious efforts made to enhance this process, I would like to note with concern some issues that may cause difficulties in the way ahead if left unattended. Some attempts have been made to set objectives that may deviate from the letter and spirit of the Treaty:

For example, it is our strong view that the Prep-Com decisions should ensure that data is collected and used solely for the purposes of the Treatyís verification requirements.

Second, we regret the tolerance shown on few occasions towards blocking the functioning of one of the geographical regions defined in the Treaty and towards attempts to bypass it.

Mr. President,

In considering the ratification of the CTBT, Israelís decision process will be influenced by three main factors:

First, the level of development and readiness of the verification regime achieved by the Prep-Com, its effectiveness and immunity to abuse. We attach particular importance to the OSI, as will be elaborated in the OSI Operational Manual.

The second factor is Israelís sovereign equality status as will be reflected in actions taken by the Prep-Com and other policy making organs of the CTBT, including those related to the geographical region of the Middle East and South Asia (MESA).

The third factor for consideration concerns the developments in our region, including the adherence to the CTBT by states in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

The Jewish new-year and the approaching new millenium fill us with renewed hope for regional and global reconciliation, stable peace and security. We are convinced that full implementation and adherence to the CTBT shall significantly contribute to this goal. Let me conclude, Mr. President, with the hope that this Conference will be brought to a successful conclusion furthering the objectives of the CTBT and facilitating its entry into force.

Thank you, Mr. President.